Emergent Thinking articles

Understanding Skills Demand – Five Ways to Smart LMI

ET5imageThe pressure is on to ensure that skills funding delivers the maximum impact and offers the best value for money for learners, employers and the economy.

Scarce resources need to be used responsively and targeted where they will deliver the best outcomes, and cost-effective, high-quality labour market intelligence (LMI) can play a key role in making this happen. Emergent Thinking #5 mines our 20 years’ experience in LMI work, and sets out five key lessons for organisations involved in the learning and skills sector.

No.4 Online Social Networks and Community Development

Our recent evaluation of Project Dirt, the green social network, offered a tantalising glimpse of the significant potential that online spaces have for supporting local community development.

In this edition of Emergent Thinking we consider ‘place-based’ online communities, the ways they can facilitate local action, and how those interested in community development may be able to work with online networks more effectively.

No 3: Assessing the Impact of Further Education

Nearly two years on from the publication of the Final Report of the Independent Commission on Colleges in their Communities led by Baroness Sharp, there is growing interest in understanding better the role that colleges play in their local communities.

The economic and social impact of FE is moving up the policy agenda, following the publication of Rigour and Responsiveness in Skills by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills earlier this year. OFSTED has also joined the debate with its quite critical Local Accountability and Autonomy in Colleges report.

In this article we consider the issues around impact measurement, and the kind of actions that FE colleges may want to consider in responding to the impact agenda.


No. 2: Open Public Services and User Satisfaction

The Open Public Services White Paper published this summer outlines how the government plans to make the whole spectrum of public services, from bin collections to universities and hospitals, more open and responsive to need, placing a heavy emphasis on user satisfaction research as a key tool. In this article, we offer some pointers to good practice in user satisfaction research, but suggest that there are limitations to its applicability and use, and that the ‘special place’ it seems to be accorded might even tell us something of the limitations of the White Paper itself.

No.1: Spread a little Happiness

The UK Government recently announced that the Office for National Statistics (ONS) would be developing new measures of national well-being relating to people’s quality of life, the environment and sustainability, and economic performance. Part of the motivation for the project is a growing recognition that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) gives only a partial – and perhaps perverse – picture of how the country is doing.